It is the simplest natural materials that seem to inspire the most play.
This is often the case in my classroom. When I put open-ended natural materials in the math area children find many mathematical ways to use them.
As I watched children playing with rocks and ten-frames inside, I had the idea to bring these materials (back) outside.
For this playful invitation, think about games you can play using large ten frames.
1. Prepare: Gather chalk and a large dice. The one we used was created using an old tissue box. Then, draw a large ten frame with chalk.
Use the Invitation to Play Documentation Tool to collect data.
2. Invite: Would you like to play a game? Roll the dice and whatever number you roll find that many things.
3. Play: The first round you might model how to play. Roll the dice and call out the number rolled.
Explain that you are going to find the same number of things around the playground/yard. Quickly run and find the same amount rolled then bring them back to the ten frame. Use one-to-one correspondence, placing one item in each box.
Count how many you found and match it to the dice.
Once you complete the first roll, either roll again, or ask the child to count how many more they need to fill the whole ten-frame. Challenge the child to find that many more.
*When my class played we set a timer for 30-60 seconds and tried to find our natural materials before the timer went off. Also, for a few rounds we choose a material and called out to only find leaves, flowers, sticks, etc.
4. Reflect and Assess: Did children quickly call out the number rolled (subitize) or did they count each pip on the dice? Did children match quantity on the dice with the number of items they found? Were children able to fill the ten frame by counting the remaining empty squares.